Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 37

37
Chapter 37
Joseph and his brothers
1Jacob lived in Canaan, the land where his father had lived. #37:1 God gave Jacob the new name ‘Israel’. See Genesis 32:28; 35:10. The Bible uses both names for the same person, but here we have used ‘Jacob’.
2This is the report about Jacob and his family.
Joseph was Jacob's son. When he was 17 years old, he took care of his father's sheep and goats. He did this together with his brothers. These were the sons of his father's wives, Bilhah and Zilpah. Sometimes Joseph told his father bad things about his brothers.
3Jacob loved Joseph more than he loved any of his other sons. This was because Joseph was born when Jacob was old. So Jacob made a special coat for Joseph. 4Joseph's brothers knew that Jacob loved him more than he loved them. So they hated Joseph. They could not say anything nice to him.
5One night, Joseph had a dream and he told his brothers about it. When they heard about the dream, Joseph's brothers hated him even more than they did before. 6Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Listen to what happened in my dream: 7We were out in the field tying the crops together into bundles. Then my bundle stood up. Your bundles stood in a circle round my bundle. And all your bundles bent down to respect my bundle.’
8Joseph's brothers said to him, ‘Do you really think that you will be like a king and rule over us like that?’ They hated Joseph even more because of what he told them about his dream.
9Then Joseph had another dream and he told his brothers about it. He said, ‘Listen to me. I have had another dream. This is what happened: The sun, the moon and 11 stars bent down in front of me.’ 10Joseph told his father and his brothers about the dream. Jacob, his father, was angry with him. He said to Joseph, ‘You should not tell us about a dream like that! Do you really think that I, your mother and your brothers will come and bend down in front of you?’ 11Joseph's brothers were very jealous of him. But Jacob thought carefully about what Joseph had said.
12One day, Joseph's brothers had taken their father's sheep to eat grass in the fields. This was near Shechem city. 13Jacob said to Joseph, ‘You know that your brothers have taken my sheep to eat grass near Shechem. I want you to go to them.’ Joseph replied, ‘I am ready to go.’ 14So Jacob said to Joseph, ‘Go and see if your brothers are well. See if the sheep have enough grass to eat. Then come back and tell me news about them.’ Then Jacob sent Joseph from the Valley of Hebron to go to them. 15When Joseph arrived near Shechem and he was walking in the fields there, a man met him. He asked Joseph, ‘What are you looking for?’ 16Joseph replied, ‘I am looking for my brothers. They have taken the sheep to eat grass. Please tell me where they are.’ 17The man said, ‘They have moved away from here. I heard them say, “Let us go to Dothan.” ’
So Joseph went to look for his brothers. He found them at Dothan. 18But his brothers recognized Joseph, while he was still far away. Before he had arrived where they were, they decided on a way to kill him. 19They said to each other, ‘Here comes the man who likes to dream! 20We will kill him. We can throw him into one of the dry wells. We can tell people that a wild animal ate him. Then his dreams will never become true!’
21When Reuben heard this, he tried to save Joseph from the other brothers. He said, ‘We should not kill him. 22Do not even get his blood on your hands. Just throw him into this dry well here in the wilderness. But do not attack him.’ Reuben said this to save Joseph, so that his brothers would not kill him. Then later, Reuben could take Joseph back to his father.
23So Joseph arrived at where his brothers were. He was wearing his special coat, but they took it off him. 24Then they took hold of Joseph and they threw him into the empty well. It had no water in it.
25Then the brothers sat down to eat their meal. They looked up and they saw a group of Ishmaelites coming towards them. They were coming from the region that is called Gilead. They were riding on camels that carried spices, and different kinds of oils for medicine. They were taking them to sell in Egypt.
26Judah said to his brothers, ‘We could kill our brother and then hide his body. But then we will not get anything for ourselves. 27So, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites. We do not need to hurt him. Then we will not have to kill him. We should remember that he is our brother. He is our own relative.’ Judah's brothers agreed with what he said. 28When the Midianite traders came near to Joseph's brothers, they pulled him out of the dry well. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 silver coins. The Ishmaelites took Joseph with them to Egypt.
29Later, Reuben returned to the dry well. He saw that Joseph was not there. He tore his clothes because he was very upset. 30Reuben went back to his brothers. He said to them, ‘The boy is not in the well! What can I do now?’ #37:30 Reuben was upset because he had tried to save Joseph. He was the oldest of all the brothers. Now he will have to tell his father that Joseph has gone.
31Then the brothers killed a goat. They took its blood and they put the blood all over Joseph's special coat. 32They took the coat back to their father and they told him, ‘We found this coat. Look at it. Tell us if it is your son's coat.’ 33Jacob saw that it was Joseph's coat. He said, ‘It is my son's coat! A wild animal must have eaten him! The animal has torn Joseph's body into pieces.’
34Jacob was so upset that he tore his own clothes. He put on clothes made from sackcloth to show how sad he was. He wept for many days because his son had died.
35All Jacob's sons and daughters came to comfort him. But Jacob was very sad, so they could not make him happy. Jacob said, ‘I will be sad until the day that I die, because my son is dead.’ Jacob wept because Joseph was dead.
36While this was happening, the Midianites took Joseph into Egypt. They sold him to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officers. Potiphar had authority over all of Pharaoh's guards.
37
Joseph is sold by his brothers as a slave
Joseph and his brothers
1Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, where his father Isaac had lived, 2and this is the story of his family.
When Jacob's son Joseph was seventeen years old, he took care of the sheep with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah.#37.2 Bilhah and Zilpah: See 30.1-13. But he was always telling his father all sorts of bad things about his brothers.
3Jacob loved Joseph more than he did any of his other sons, because Joseph was born after Jacob was very old. Jacob had given Joseph a fine coat#37.3 fine coat: Or “a coat of many colours” or “a coat with long sleeves”. 4to show that he was his favourite son, and so Joseph's brothers hated him and would not be friendly to him.
5One day, Joseph told his brothers what he had dreamed, and they hated him even more. 6Joseph said, “Let me tell you about my dream. 7We were out in the field, tying up bundles of wheat. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles gathered around and bowed down to it.”
8His brothers asked, “Do you really think you are going to be king and rule over us?” Now they hated Joseph more than ever because of what he had said about his dream.
9Joseph later had another dream, and he told his brothers, “Listen to what else I dreamed. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to me.”
10When he told his father about this dream, his father became angry and said, “What's that supposed to mean? Are your mother and I and your brothers all going to come and bow down in front of you?” 11Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept wondering about the dream.#Ac 7.9.
Joseph is sold and taken to Egypt
12One day when Joseph's brothers had taken the sheep to a pasture near Shechem, 13his father Jacob said to him, “I want you to go to your brothers. They are with the sheep near Shechem.”
“Yes, sir,” Joseph answered.
14His father said, “Go and find out how your brothers and the sheep are doing. Then come back and let me know.” So he sent him from Hebron Valley.
Joseph was near Shechem 15and wandering through the fields, when a man asked, “What are you looking for?”
16Joseph answered, “I'm looking for my brothers who are watching the sheep. Can you tell me where they are?”
17“They're not here any more,” the man replied. “I overheard them say they were going to Dothan.”
Joseph left and found his brothers in Dothan. 18But before he got there, they saw him coming and made plans to kill him. 19They said to one another, “Look, here comes the hero of those dreams! 20Let's kill him and throw him into a pit and say that some wild animal ate him. Then we'll see what happens to those dreams.”
21Reuben heard this and tried to protect Joseph from them. “Let's not kill him,” he said. 22“Don't murder him or even harm him. Just throw him into a dry well out here in the desert.” Reuben planned to rescue Joseph later and take him back to his father.
23When Joseph came to his brothers, they pulled off his fine coat#37.23 fine coat: Or “a coat of many colours” or “a coat with long sleeves”. 24and threw him into a dry well.
25As Joseph's brothers sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with all kinds of spices that they were taking to Egypt. 26So Judah said, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and hide his body? 27Let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not harm him. After all, he is our brother.” And the others agreed.
28When the Midianite merchants came by, Joseph's brothers took him out of the well, and for twenty pieces of silver they sold him to the Ishmaelites#37.28 Midianite…Ishmaelites: According to 25.1,2,12 both the Midianites and the Ishmaelites were descendants of Abraham, and in Judges 8.22-24 the two names are used of the same people. It is possible that in this passage “Ishmaelite” has the meaning “nomadic traders”, while “Midianite” refers to their ethnic origin. who took him to Egypt.#Ac 7.9.
29When Reuben returned to the well and did not find Joseph there, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 30Then he went back to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone! What am I going to do?”
31Joseph's brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph's fine coat in its blood. 32After this, they took the coat to their father and said, “We found this! Look at it carefully and see if it belongs to your son.”
33Jacob knew it was Joseph's coat and said, “It's my son's coat! Joseph has been torn to pieces and eaten by some wild animal.”
34Jacob mourned for Joseph a long time, and to show his sorrow he tore his clothes and wore sackcloth.#37.34 sackcloth: A rough dark-coloured cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow. 35All Jacob's children came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will go to my grave, mourning for my son.” So Jacob kept on grieving.
36Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold Joseph in Egypt to a man named Potiphar, who was the king's#37.36 the king's: See the note at 12.15. official in charge of the palace guard.